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Economy

COVID Named As Main Cause Of 22.7 Percent Jobless Rate

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Michigan’s official jobless rate jumped to 22.7 percent. The seasonally adjusted number shows Michigan lost more than a million jobs from March to April. That’s one in five workers without jobs. And that number does not reflect people who are employed but working reduced hours. 

Jason Palmer directs the state Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. He said the job losses cut across all sectors of the economy, but especially manufacturing, retail, and hospitality.

“These are all industries that got hit really hard, some of them dropping by 50 percent,” said Palmer. 

Ryan Francetitch is a restaurant worker and recent college graduate. He says he’s hopeful about returning to work soon. 

“I’ve still been in touch with some places about working,” said Francetitch. “Most places are kind of like when we start getting things back to normal is when we can kind of bring you in because everyone’s kind of working with uncertainty right now.” 

Palmer says one month’s data does not necessarily mean a long-term downturn in employment. He says the number reflects layoffs due to the COVID-19 crisis. 

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is allowing some sectors of the state’s economy to re-open. And she’s also calling for more federal assistance to help jump start hiring and consumer spending. 

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